More than 30,000 cases of cholera and 800 deaths have been reported so far this year, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

NCDC said the outbreak has been exacerbated by poor access to clean water, open defecation, poor sanitation, and hygiene issues.

Between January and the start of August, 31,425 suspected cases of cholera, 311 confirmed cases and 816 deaths have been reported from 22 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Cholera is a waterborne disease, and the risk of transmission is higher when there is poor sanitation and disruption to clean water supply. Without proper water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH), Nigeria remains at risk of more cholera cases and deaths, said NCDC.

Tackling the outbreak
The National Cholera Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) became involved in June. The EOC which is hosted at NCDC, includes representatives from the Federal Ministries of Environment and Water Resources, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), World Health Organization (WHO) and partners.

NCDC and partners have helped states with case management and laboratory diagnosis, materials for risk communications and response guidelines. A reactive oral cholera vaccine (OCV) campaign led by NPHCDA was conducted in Bauchi LGA, Bauchi State in late July.

NCDC urged Nigerians to only drink or use water that is boiled and stored safely, ensure food is cooked and stored in a clean and safe environment, avoid open defecation and wash hands regularly with soap and running water.

Cholera is characterized by a sudden onset of profuse watery diarrhea, which can lead to death as a result of dehydration. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and weakness. Many infected people may only show mild symptoms or none at all. The time between infection and appearance of symptoms is two hours to five days. The disease is easily treatable, if detected early, thanks to an oral rehydration solution.

Based on European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) monitoring of cholera outbreaks, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Somalia had all reported cases in Africa this year. Bangladesh, India and Yemen had also been affected.

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